The Federal Employer's Liability Act (FEMA) is a federal law that provides benefits to workers who are injured on or around trains engaged in interstate commerce. This is an oversimplification, and there are many rules and exceptions that apply to FELA coverage. It is designed to offer employers standardized uniform liabilities. An injured worker under FELA is entitled to receive damages if the road he or she works for is involved in interstate commerce or if the worker's injury is related to negligence or defect of equipment (i.e. cars, engine, track, etc.)
Injured workers may be entitled to the following damages:
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses
- Permanent injury
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
You should consult with a lawyer about FELA coverage if you believe that your injury may be covered. Unlike workers' compensation, workers may be entitled to sue for damages if their injuries were caused by the employer's negligence. Also unlike workers' compensation, there is no limit on the amount of damages that can be recovered. Some difference between FELA and workers' compensation are that the employee assumes the risk of the job and under FELA it may not be seen as a valid claim. Another difference is that partial negligence on the employer's part is not valid for the reduction of settlements or the dismissal of a case.
Under FELA, the railroad companies have certain duties that they are held accountable for, such as:
- Enforcing regulation and safety rules
- Keeping work environment free of hazards
- Providing training, supervisors and assistance within job functions
- Inspecting equipment and tools for safety
- Failing to adhere to unreasonable work quotas
- Taking care of reasonable climatic conditions (such as the removal of snow)
Because of the potential for a large settlement under the FELA, workers should consult with a lawyer if their injuries occurred on or around a train or train track. Ogletree, Abbott, Clay & Reed, L.L.P., is available to consult with you in this very important matter. Call us today at 713-223-1234. Or, if you prefer, email us and we will contact you right away. Call today about your possible FELA claim.